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Updated: May 25, 2023

Starting out as an independent artist


As an independent artist, it's important to properly register your music in order to make money and have your music tracked accurately. Here is a step-by-step guide on how and where to register your music:


  1. Copyright your music: The first step in registering your music is to copyright it. This will give you legal protection and control over your music. You can copyright your music through the United States Copyright Office by filing a Form SR (for sound recordings) or a Form PA (for musical works).

  2. Register with a performance rights organization (PRO): A PRO represents songwriters and publishers and collect royalties for public performances of their music. In the US you can register with organizations like ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

  3. Register with a mechanical rights organization: Mechanical rights organizations, such as the Harry Fox Agency, handle the licensing and collection of royalties for the reproduction of your music on physical and digital formats.

  4. Register with a digital rights organization (DRO): DROs, such as SoundExchange, collect royalties for streaming and digital downloads of your music.

  5. Register your music with streaming platforms: In order to make money from streaming, you need to register your music with platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal. This will ensure that you are paid for the streaming of your music. Platforms like TuneCore, CD Baby and DistroKid help with the registering and distribution of your new recorded music.

  6. Keep track of your music: Once your music is registered, it's important to keep track of where it's being played and where royalties are coming from. There are several services, such as Songtrust, that can help you track your music and collect royalties on your behalf.

  7. Keep your contact and bank information updated: Make sure to update your contact information and bank details with the organizations you have registered with, so that you can receive your royalties on time.


These are the most basic of steps any up and coming artist should follow. By following these steps, you can ensure that your music is properly registered and tracked, and that you are receiving the royalties you are entitled to as an independent artist.

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As an independent artist, distributing your music is an important step to getting it heard by a wider audience. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to distribute your music:


Fan excited for a music concert
Fan Ready for a concert

Step 1: Record and produce your music

The first step in distributing your music as an independent artist is to actually make the music. This can be done in a variety of ways, depending on your budget and resources. You can record and produce your music in a home studio, or you can work with a professional studio or producer. Once your music is recorded and produced to your satisfaction, it's time to move on to the next step.

Step 2: Create metadata for your tracks

Before you can distribute your music, you'll need to create metadata for each of your tracks. This includes information like the song title, artist name, album title, and artwork. This information will be used to identify and promote your music on various platforms and services.

Step 3: Choose a digital distribution service

There are a number of digital distribution services that you can use to get your music out to the world. Some popular options include DistroKid, TuneCore, and CD Baby. These services will handle the task of getting your music onto platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal. Some services even include YouTube monetization and some will help you get on to other platforms like Amazon and Google Play as well.

Step 4: Upload your music and metadata

Once you've chosen a digital distribution service, you'll need to upload your music and metadata to the service's website. The process of uploading your music will vary depending on the service you're using, but generally, you'll need to create an account, sign in, and then follow the prompts to upload your tracks.

Step 5: Promote your music

Now that your music is out in the world, it's time to promote it. This can include creating a website through Wix or social media pages for your artist or band, reaching out to bloggers and music reviewers, and performing live. Additionally, you can use platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook to connect with your audience, and promote your music.

Step 6: Track your streams and royalties

Finally, it's important to keep track of your streams and royalties, so you can see how your music is performing. The digital distribution service should provide you with this information, and you can also check the analytics provided by streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. With this information, you can see what's working and what isn't, and make adjustments to your promotion and distribution strategies as needed.

 

*Please note that there can be variation among services and platforms, so it's important to read their policies and agreements, you can also always reach out to the customer service.*

 

These are the general steps you should take as an independent artist to distribute your music. By recording and producing high-quality music, creating metadata, choosing the right distribution service, promoting your music, and tracking your streams and royalties, you can increase your chances of success in the music industry.

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